Today we’d like to introduce you to Alena (April) Severnaya (Ryan).
Alena (April), please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Since my childhood, I knew that I will be in a beauty industry. When I was 18, I made my first nail extension. It wasn’t good but I realized that doing nails is what I want to do in life. I found a local nail school, finished all of the required courses and as a best student I was offered a job in this school. After that, I finished many additional educational nail programs, training, courses, etc. I also participated in several nail competitions and won prizes in some of them. When I was 23, I opened my own Nail Studio and it was one of the most popular ones in my home town. After that, I’ve opened another two as there was a lot of demand for my and my students services. Six years ago me and my husband moved to US and we got a business opportunity here. So I started building my brand name on worldwide scale. I decided to take part in nail competitions to gain some popularity but quickly realized that it doesn’t work in US like it used to work in Russia. So I decided to start making video tutorials on Instagram platform.
I was one of the first who started to shoot high-quality tutorial videos with the products that pretty much no one used in US. My social media accounts started to rapidly grow and a lot of companies started to contact me asking me to work with them and their products. The demand for video tutorials was so overwhelming that I realized that I can’t do all of those tutorials on my own hand. So I decided to develop the realistic silicone copy of my own hand. It was pretty much impossible for anyone to tell that silicone hand in the video was not real. And after a little while, I decided that I can sell the copies of my hand so it could help other people to shoot tutorial videos and not using their own hands for that. It became a great seller as a lot of student wanted to buy my silicone hands. Training on silicone was so much easier for them as they didn’t fear to make a mistake unlike with real person’s hand. Currently, my silicone hands are selling worldwide and I’m in process of development of my own line of professional nail products.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
In Russia, two biggest struggles were – a lot of competition and customer’s lack of money. Because of that, I needed to keep my prices low and the quality of work high along with the materials I needed to buy for my work. Nail supplies cost much more in Russia than they cost in US but the price customer pays is significantly lower. So I had to cut corners on materials and make up for that with my nail technician skills. In US, the only struggle was learning a language. But after working in a nail salon for couple of months, I was able to understand and communicate with customers. My advice for young women will not differ from any other as this life showed us that there is the only way. Set a goal and work for it every day, not just 8 hours a day but also in a morning and before you go to sleep. Work hard and work smart. There will be a lot of stress, but each time you overcome this struggle you will only become stronger and every next step will be easier for you to do. One more thing I’d like to add – it is always easier if there someone who supports you. For me it was my husband and he helped me through the entire process.
What should we know about Red Iguana? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am nail video creator, nail technician, nail competition winner published in nail magazines. What sets me apart from the other is that I strive for the highest possible quality in my videos and my products. I care about my followers and customers and want only the best learning experience for them. My tutorial videos always shot on professional camera with professional lighting. Tutorials are detailed and show the process in best way possible. As for my products – we use only highest quality US made silicone for my silicone hands so the customers know that they can use the hand for many years.
What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
I don’t see any barriers based on my gender. I never felt any pressure or discrimination just because I’m a woman. Everything is going great for me.
- Full Silicone Practice Hand – from $149.00 (https://red-iguana.com/collections/silicone-practice-hand/products/full-silicone-practice-hand)
- Half Silicone Practice Hand – from $75.00 (https://red-iguana.com/collections/silicone-practice-hand/products/half-silicone-practice-hand)
- Silicone Practice Finger – $20.00 (https://red-iguana.com/collections/silicone-practice-hand/products/silicone-practice-finger)
- Website: www.red-iguana.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/red_iguana/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Red.iguana.nails/